Friday, September 9, 2011

Revision! A LINGO poem! Poetry Friday! and a Play Doh exercise!

Howdy, Campers!  Happy Poetry Friday!
Poetry Friday is hosted by Secrets and Sharing Soda this week. (The direct link to the roundup is here.)
Thank you, Katie!

Our topic this week is REVISION, inspired by The International Reading Association (IRA)'s "Revision Week"--September 5-9, 2011.  Visit the IRA's Engage: Teacher to Teacher Blog this week to read/hear comments about revision from several well-known children's authors, including Cynthia Lord and Kate Messner.

We've written LOTS of posts on revision, because, of course, we're always revising.  ALWAYS.  Also, ALL WAYS.  

Oy.  Sometimes it feels as if an editor is asking me to kill my first born.  Ever feel that way to you?
This is me, off to revise:

Actually, sometimes revising is my favorite part.  I mean, at least I have the bones of the story or poem--now I just have to...have to...have DO something with those bones!

I thought I'd write a LINGO poem on editing and revising.  A Lingo is a brand new poetic form!  It's also fun to write.  See my last post.

The terms in bold are from this glossary of copyediting terms.  I chose the juiciest ones to play with and here's the result:

by April Halprin Wayland

The guy was a legend.
He grew up rough, an orphan
he wore ragged right shoes,
cooked his meals on a boilerplate.

You shoulda seen his face.
I don't wanna justify nutin', but the dingbat had it coming.
When I finally found him in the gutter
it was a clean kill—he was dead copy.

They did it Chicago style
with a backslash
using a dagger.  
Or a bullet.  

Or maybe it was a flush and hang—hard to tell.
I tried to clean up the crime scene,
tried to redline it,
tried to flag someone down.

Finally I made an em dash for the door.
I don't have proof, mind you, 
but it looks like it coulda been 
a serial comma.

For today's WRITING WORKOUTI'm reprising an exercise on revising which was at the end of a post that ran in August, when you were on vacation. 

You'll need:
  • twice as many small cans of Play Doh as you have students
  • plastic forks, knives and spoons
  • writing materials
1) Let each student choose one can of their favorite color Play Doh...then scatter other cans on everyone's desk so they can share.  Make plastic forks, knives and spoons available, too.
2) Give them five minutes (or more) to make a person, animal or other creature.
3) If there's time, let everyone walk around the class to look at each creation.
4) Now tell each student to move to the next desk and make one radical change in the figure there.
5) Have them return to their desks and let the class walk around again, looking at the changes.
6) Discuss.  How did it feel when someone changed your art?  Do you like what it looks like now?  Which do you like better?

In one of the classes I teach through UCLA Extension Writers Program, most of my adult students are surprised that they like the changed creature best.  One woman admitted that she liked the changes...but also missed her own creation and felt slightly violated.

Yes...that's exactly how I feel when an editor or my critique group wants to edit (gasp!) my work.  Hurt, resentful, violated.  Sometimes, if I sit with the suggestions, I end up liking them.  I can see how it can take a village to create a vision bigger than my own.  Sometimes, though, I reject the changes.

If you'd like to make this more of a writing exercise, you can have your students write a story or poem during the process.  You might decide to have them write as soon as they've made their creature, before it is changed.  If you have time, you can also have them write after the changes--either about the changed creature or about how they feel now that it's different.

So--dive into Play Doh!  Let your room fill with its delicious perfume!
And remember to write with joy!

poem and drawings (c) 2011 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved


Unknown said...

I found the way back to writing with joy by accident. My husband and I set out to prove who let their "hobby" eat the most time, we freed up a lot of time by working smart. It was great to get a lot done and have more time to spend with family.

Mary Lee said...

LOVE your revision Lingo! And I've got cans of Play Doh all ready for that revision lesson next week! I'll have to post about it (and I'll link back!!!).

jama said...

Love your LINGO!! :D

GatheringBooks said...

I always love your writing activities that follow your beautiful illustrations. And I echo the sentiments of everyone above - the lingo is fab!

Amy L V said...

Your lingo cracked me up! Oh, I've got to try this new form. Thank you for the revision thoughts too. I'll be buying Play Doh to try this with students and teachers too. A.

Katie said...

Your lingo made me laugh out loud! I took a sip of water and it nearly came out of my nose at this part:

They did it Chicago style,
with a backslash,
using a dagger.
Or a bullet.

So funny. Great stuff.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Elaine--so glad you found your way back to the joy of writing. Sometimes I'm embarrassed because I make my love into work!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Mary Lee--I can't wait to hear how the Play Doh exercise turns out for your class!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Hi, Jama! It's your turn to write a Lingo about food!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Hey, Myra ~ Thanks so much for commenting on both the exercises and illustrations. I've been cheating--using illustrations from my past blogs. You've inspired me to draw some more!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Hey Amy, please let us know how you tweak the Play Doh exercise--we build on each other's experiences. And show us your Lingo!

April Halprin Wayland said...


SO GLAD the Lingo made you laugh! Do you have a Lingo lurking in you? I'd love to see it!